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Cultural Politics in Polybius's Histories$
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Craige Champion and William Joseph Sanders

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780520237643

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520237643.001.0001

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Genos Politeiōn: Book 6, Rome, and Hellenism

Genos Politeiōn: Book 6, Rome, and Hellenism

(p.67) Chapter 3 Genos Politeiōn: Book 6, Rome, and Hellenism
Cultural Politics in Polybius's Histories

Craige B. Champion

University of California Press

This chapter first investigates Polybius's uses of the barbarian category. It addresses the intellectual heritage from which Polybius drew ideas on the formation of group characters, exploring the causal factors Greek thinkers had devised to account for differences in collective societal characteristics. Moreover, Polybius's representation of the Roman politeia and the various ways in which Romans may occupy an ambiguous position in relation to Hellenism in book 6 are described. The primacy of constitutions as causal determinants of collective characteristics is perhaps most apparent in the description of the Cretan politeia in book 6. The Roman military system, the Roman aristocratic funeral, Roman religious practices, and Roman financial probity would all appear to be indications of a superior politeia based upon the exercise of reason. Throughout book 6, the Roman polity appears to be based on the principle of rational planning, the hallmark of Polybius's Hellenic virtue.

Keywords:   Polybius, politeia, book 6, Rome, Hellenism, Roman military system, Roman aristocratic funeral, Roman religious practices, Roman financial probity, Roman polity

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